Mya Sedwick, Campus Carrier staff writer
For the past decade I have been raised in a single parent household, more specifically by a single mother. While some people would consider this circumstance to be anything but advantageous, I can’t help but look back on my first semester of college and imagine how I would’ve handled it had I had a more traditional upbringing.
Before I left for my first semester, my mom felt it necessary to teach me some life skills that she had to figure out for herself after being on her own for so long. The first thing she taught me was how to check the air in my tires and fill them up when they needed it. From there, we moved on to the somewhat more complex task of how to jumpstart my own car. With these crash courses in car care, my mom also wanted to ensure that in the event I had to deal with the men of the mechanic world I wouldn’t let them talk me out of something being wrong with my car because, after all, I am the one who has to drive it and feel safe while doing so.
While I am always thankful for the life lessons my mom teaches me, I was especially grateful during my first few months away from home. My first day on campus my check engine light came on and by my second month I had had to jumpstart it myself after it died while I was filling the tires with air.
I wish I could say that that was the extent of my mother’s lessons I had to put to use, but when my sister and I were driving back home from a trip to Ohio at the beginning of January my check engine light came on around London, Kentucky. As I had done once before, I found the nearest AutoZone where I knew they could use their diagnostic machine to tell me how to proceed. Unfortunately, their machine showed that I had a problem that could not be solved by purchasing a $7 bottle of fuel cleaner. For two days my sister and I were stuck in Kentucky bouncing back and forth between the AutoZone, a local mechanic and a motel trying our best to keep calm as the men handling my car tried and failed to locate the right part. It was during these few days that the last of my mom’s advice truly came in handy. Before I even spoke to a mechanic, I found out what part was needed for my car and took it upon myself to call local dealers and the hub store for the particular AutoZone I’d broken down at. The employees, not having listened to me, said that they wouldn’t be able to get the part for a week. Thankfully since I had made those calls myself, I put them in touch with a man at the hub store who said he could have the part sent to the mechanic by 9 a.m. the next morning. Had my mother not taught me to stick up for myself in these situations my car might still be there.
That final lesson is perhaps the one put to the most use this semester, not only in the realm of the automotive industry, but in difficult situations with friends and loved ones. My mom taught me how to stick up for myself even when that wasn’t the easiest thing to do. She taught me that I am the only one who truly knows what’s best for me and therefore have to be assertive when my livelihood and best interests are at stake.
I am in no way suggesting that growing up in a single parent household came without its own set of problems because it did. What I am saying is, had I not grown up under that set of circumstances with the influence of a fiercely independent woman, I think I would have struggled far more than I did during my first semester. She spent her life teaching me all of the things she had to learn by herself so that if I ever find myself in one of life’s unfortunate situations I won’t be at a loss. For this, I am grateful.